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Vintage motorcycles brought back to life

By Quentin Young
Times-Call News Group

LAFAYETTE — A line of motorcycles at the entrance to the industrial-looking garage building leads inside to rows of more bikes in various states of disassembly.

You’ve reached the home of Vintage Motorcycles in Lafayette.

Many of the “bikes” inside consist of little more than a filthy frame and handlebars. Some are an incomplete set of parts in a box.

It’s hard to believe the various components ever will be ridable again, but they will.

Proprietor and sole employee Jim Dallarosa will not only bring these bikes back to working condition; he’ll make them look like new.

Dallarosa’s business is based on passion. He bought his first motorcycle when he was 10 years old.

He said that as a boy growing up in Arvada, he had to hide his early bikes in a neighbor’s garage because his father hated motorcycles.

However, his father, as a steam fitter, imparted skills to his son that would later be essential for his work at Vintage Motorcycles.

Dallarosa first put those skills to good use in the 1990s, when he helped build microbreweries around the state. At the time, he worked on motorcycles as a hobby.

When construction of microbreweries slowed, Dallarosa decided to turn his hobby into a living. He opened Vintage Motorcycles in 2001.

“I enjoy the hell out of what I’m doing,” he said last week at his shop, at 776 W. Baseline Road.

His peers also enjoy what he’s doing.

Dallarosa boasts several awards for his work, including Best of Show honors at the AutoMezzi 2003 Colorado event.

As the name of his shop indicates, many of the motorcycles on which Dallarosa works are antiques or rare specimens.

He said there is a recent trend among motorcycle enthusiasts to seek out vintage English, German, Italian and Japanese models.

Dallarosa himself rides a Moto Guzzi, and walking through his shop, he points lovingly to Benelli, Triton and Zundapp Bella bikes on which he’s working.

“I get bikes in pieces, and I put them back together again,” he said.

He also performs regular servicing for working motorcycles.

Dallarosa knew when he first opened Vintage Motorcycles that it would take time before he turned a profit, but he expects to do so for the first time by the end of this year.

He said Lafayette has proved to be a winning area for his business.

“I couldn’t ask for a better location,” Dallarosa said.